MABTON — The No. 2 seed Vikings won in dramatic playoff form on a header goal by freshman Jesus Carreon with 1:56 remaining in the opening round game of the SCAC District 5 Tournament as they won 3-2 over No.3 College Place at home on Thursday.
“I just knew that I had to have it,” Carreron firmly stated following his two-goal scoring performance.
“Alexis Mendoza had a great ball to the center, and I knew that was mine and had to go get it!”
Senior Jose Morales scored Mabton’s second goal at 28:14 in the second half to give the Vikings a 2-1 edge.
“I saw the opportunity to poke it in, and when I got up, I was so excited that the ball had gone in,” Morales described.
Both teams played with an aggressive intensity for physical play and hard fouls, which was closely officiated with yellow and red cards issued.
“I just tried to motivate them. It was either go home, and hang up the cleats, or give it your last 40 minutes, and it looked like that they weren’t ready to put them away,” Head Coach Junior Garcia said.
Leading 2-1 with the Vikings looking to add another goal, Morales was on his horse, tracking down a long ball pass over the defense, and he was headed directly to the front of the penalty box.
The Hawks goalkeeper senior Jorge Garcia sped toward the oncoming ball as they were both determined to win the 50/50 possession.
The pivotal play resulted in a second yellow and subsequent red card on Morales and his ejection from the game at 11:48 in the second half.
“I’m a senior, so it felt like it was going to be my last game at home. And so, I have to go hard. I don’t care if it was a 50/50, I have to try whatever I can,” Morales explained. “I understand the safety of the goalie is first, and that’s what they called. I’m okay with that.”
With 7:56 remaining, the Hawks tied the match at 2-2.
The momentum had switched sides to the visitors.
As Morales led the cheers from the sideline with his teammates, the stage was set for the Vikings to take charge and attack.
“I told them that we’re not going to sit back. If they score on us, we’re going to push forward. We’re here to win it. No overtime,” Garcia firmly acknowledged. “If we’re going to lose, we’re going to lose, but let’s go out and see if we can get a goal.”
The added pressure on the Vikings’ defense would test the team’s focus in reading the Hawks’ counter attack and reacting to push up on the ball to make the play.
“The adrenaline keeps you going. The next goal wins, and every shot counts,” junior goalkeeper David Lopez expressed. “I’m going to where the ball is, and if I can get it, I’m going out there to win it!”
Carreron revealed that his winning shot was a designed play that they’ve been working on all season. The tournament moment was not too big for the underclassman who rose up and met the challenge head on.
“They really showed their heart and determination out there. I’m so happy for them,” Garcia conveyed. “That’s all I can ask of them!”
The Vikings advanced to the next round of the District 5 Tournament on Tuesday, May 7, and was set to travel to play Royal with a championship game and state tournament on the line.